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Advice for New Year’s Eve Travelers from WI State Patrol

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The Wisconsin State Patrol advises New Year's Eve motorists to use common sense and take advantage of free rides home offered by many bars and restaurants. (Photo of State Patrol patch courtesy of WI Dept. of Transportation)
The Wisconsin State Patrol advises New Year's Eve motorists to use common sense and take advantage of free rides home offered by many bars and restaurants. (Photo of State Patrol patch courtesy of WI Dept. of Transportation)
December 30, 2013

DeFOREST, Wis. - New Year's Eve is a big night for partying, and a lot of people will be on the roads. Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. Greg Jenswold said it has been said many times before, but it's still true: Do not get behind the wheel if you've had too much to drink.

"Think about utilizing those designated drivers and those free rides home from the bar and things of that nature. Also, tell somebody your route. If something does happen to you and people are looking for you, they have an idea of where you're coming from and where you're going to and how you plan to get there," Jenswold advised.

Depending on the weather, New Year's Eve will have about as many crashes as a typical Packers football Sunday, Jenswold predicted, adding that the Wisconsin Transportation Department has tried to get out the message about the dangers of drinking and driving through numerous TV ads.

"We kind of back that up with the additional enforcement effort, as well as staggering our people's start and stop times for work so that our people are out there during that time when we might have the most issues with people who are under the influence, so we can keep those highways safe," he said.

If you see a driver weaving, stay away and call 911, he advised. Your call will be sent to the nearest county sheriff's office, no matter where you are, and law enforcement personnel will be dispatched to the scene.

He also had advice if you get into a crash: Unless it is on fire, stay in your car. Recently, video of a huge chain-reaction multiple-fatality accident on Highway 41/45 near Germantown went viral, he said.

"As more cars slid into that crash, people were running every different direction trying to get away from it. If they would have remained in their car, they wouldn't have to worry about getting run over and killed. It's a very, very hazardous situation, being at a crash scene like that. We have law enforcement officers who are killed every year at crash scenes just like that," he said.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI